Our friend Bethan visited Busan recently, and while there she explored some of the best cafés the city has to offer. If you’re planning your own visit and want some inspiration for the best spots to grab a coffee, a sandwich, or a delicious pastry – read on below!
When planning your first trip to Busan, you might want to fit some cafes into your itinerary. Korea is the land of gorgeous cafés, so I highly recommend café-hopping in any Korean city, including Busan. However, if you’re sticking to more tourist-focused destinations for your first trip to Busan, finding well-priced, independent cafés could be slightly more difficult than the less well-known areas of the city. I’ve selected five hidden gems which you can easily slip into your jam-packed sightseeing itinerary, and will help you avoid those franchise cafés – so these are the best cafés in Busan!
(We’ve also included a handy Google Map below to help you find these gems.)
And Coffee, Haeundae
Haeundae is one of the most popular areas in Busan for tourists – Haeundae beach is a perfect vacation spot, and the street markets and fresh seafood that this area is known for bring hordes of tourists to Busan every year. It’s truly a must-visit for anybody visiting Busan for the first time – as a Brit, seeing the skyscrapers along the beachfront at night actually blew my mind!
However, since Haeundae is such a famous spot, it can sometimes be difficult to find an independent café that offers a cosy atmosphere, a decent price for food and somewhere to sit. That’s why I was so happy to find And Coffee!
This café is large and inviting, and offers a brunch menu as well as a variety of waffles and drinks. This was the perfect spot to stop at for breakfast, and the interior felt warm and enjoyable. We ordered a chicken panini and roasted vegetable salad between us. The food was well prepared and delicious; my panini came with a Korean gochujang-based sauce which went perfectly with the chicken and apple sandwich filling, while my friend’s salad came topped with blueberries which tasted great. Interesting ingredient combinations are a staple of Korean Western food and is always an experience, whether good or bad – my favourite so far being egg mayonnaise and strawberry jam sandwiches – so experiencing Korean-style Western food while you are here is a must-do. If you visit in the afternoon, you can also grab a cold beer after a day of sunbathing.
Just a short walk from the beachfront, this café is the perfect place to start your beach day. We arrived around 11am, and the café quickly got busy after that, so I recommend visiting in the morning if you want to sit in and eat.
Address: 317, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 48095
Avant Garde Café, Gamcheon Culture Village
In Gamcheon Culture Village, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to cafés, and the rows and rows of colourful houses cascading down the mountainside make a fantastic backdrop for cafes and restaurants. However, since the buildings in Gamcheon are very old, and were not originally built for tourism, they don’t necessarily capitalise on the view. But there was one café that we came across on our trip to Gamcheon that subverted this – Avant Garde.
From the outside, it looks like any regular café – the tables still have the watermarks from a franchise café chain which must have been here before! However, what sells this café as a hidden gem is the view. If you want to be able to sit and drink coffee whilst surrounded by the colourful village on all sides, this is the place to go. There is an indoor seating area, as well as window seating where you can enjoy looking out to the coast. There is also a decking area where you can sit outside and truly enjoy the view you travelled all the way there to see. The prices at this café are standard (around 6,000W per drink), the coffee is good and there are some cakes on offer too. So, if the view is the most important thing for you when travelling to Gamcheon, this café is perfect for that!
Address: 121, Okcheon-ro, Saha-gu, Busan 49365
Yao Tea Gallery, Gamcheon Culture Village
If you would prefer somewhere with a little more character in Gamcheon, Yao Tea Gallery is the perfect place. A great alternative to sitting down for yet another coffee, this tiny tea café is a great place to sit and learn about the art of tea ceremony. The owner speaks English and can explain about the different teas, and there is information on the walls as well to remind you. If you share a pot of tea, it costs only 8,000W per person – which is a great price, considering the time the owner takes to teach you about tea ceremony and how to prepare the tea. Between two people, one pot of tea was more than enough.
We ordered puerh tea, a fermented tea originating in China, and were happily guided upstairs to a tiny seating area with just two tables. If you want a quaint and cosy atmosphere, this teeny tiny café is perfect for that. The tables are both facing small windows too so you can enjoy a view of the village whilst sipping your tea. The owner came and showed us how to brew and strain the tea, and provided us with a traditional Korean confection called yanggaeng, made from red beans and mungbeans. You can also buy traditional style artwork that’s been hand-painted by the owner, which would make a fantastic souvenir from Korea.
Overall, this was a hugely relaxing experience, which left me with some new cultural knowledge and a refreshed mind after drinking warm tea and admiring the view in a cosy, peaceful café. This café is hidden away up some winding staircases but if you can find it, it’s well worth the visit.
Address: 1, Gamnae 2-ro 119beon-gil, Saha-gu, Busan 49363
madame, madame, Nampo
Busan Tower is another must-visit spot on your first trip to Busan, so if you’re looking for a spot to rest up after your visit, madame, madame is the perfect place.
I heard this café before I saw it, after a short walk through Yongdusan Park, the area surrounding Busan Tower. Classic Christmas songs were playing as we approached, and the café was decked out in classic red and green decorations, which I really enjoyed! This café is nestled along one of many exit staircases on the outskirts of Yongdusan Park, and the way it’s so secluded made it feel like a cottage from a fairytale or a Ghibli movie. Aesthetically, this café is just really pretty and enjoyable. Madame, madame has truly embraced the European cottage aesthetic, providing a decorative kitchen area with fake foods and dim lights which also give this place a romantic feeling. I believe this café becomes a restaurant at night, but during the day, it offers a variety of soft pretzels and pretzel sandwiches. We opted to sit outside on the decking, to enjoy the view of the café and the Christmas decorations.
The pretzels are delicious and we both ordered hot chocolate, which was some of the best hot chocolate I’ve had in Korea – very creamy and sweet. Given that it’s just outside of the park, it is the perfect spot to hide away and relax for a bit, making it one of the best cafés in Busan. Besides, the cafe comes with a cat – so what more could you ask for?
Address: 30-18, Gwangbok-ro 67beon-gil, Jung-gu, Busan 48949
One of the most underrated areas in Busan for cafés is Gijang, a mostly residential area on the outskirts of Busan. While there may not be as much to do in Gijang as other bustling areas like Haeundae, Gwangalli or Gamcheon, what this area does perfectly is ocean-view cafés. There are cafés dotted all along the coastline here, and it’s worth travelling outside of central Busan to experience it.
Of all the cafés along this coastline, my favourite has to be Offo. You’re greeted with modern architecture and plenty of space so you’ll be sure to have somewhere to sit after making a long journey. While the main attraction of this cafe is the ocean view, the bread and pastries served here are as delicious as they are pretty, and not overpriced despite the location and the atmosphere being one of an expensive café. There are also brunch options if you want a heartier meal. You can choose to eat indoors or outside, where there are tiered seats and tables facing the ocean. Since we visited in December, the café provided blankets for guests, which made sitting outside with a cake and a hot drink even more cosy. There are also tent areas outside where you can sit around a heated table in colder weather. The picnic bench setup and tented areas make this cafe a great place to visit as a family with kids or a group of friends.
However, my favourite thing about this café is that there is access from the cafe to the rockpools and ocean below. Whilst I love traversing rocks along the seafront in any weather, I can imagine this to be a great place to dip your feet in the summertime. Overall, this café was a cosy place to sit and enjoy the sea breeze, and part of me wished I had brought a book along with me to truly feel like I was on vacation!
To get to Gijang, you can easily take the subway to Gijang station – however to reach the coast, I’d recommended to hire a car or take a taxi. Taxis are also relatively cheap in Korea compared to many other countries so, especially for a group of people, a taxi would be the best way to travel. Why not make a day of café-hopping along the coast in Gijang?
Address: 860, Gijanghaean-ro, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan 46078
The Bonus Café: Magnate, Nam-gu
I had to include this café, even though it is a little more on the well-known side. Magnate is owned by the parents of BTS’s Jimin, so it is a well known spot amongst K-pop fans. However, to those who know nothing about K-pop, this café still remains a hidden gem.
The café isn’t BTS-themed at all, meaning it can be enjoyed by everyone – and it should be. The shining stars of this place are the pastries, which are not only extremely delicious, but beautiful to look at too. While you munch on a croissant or cheesecake, you can enjoy the industrial design and interesting artwork adorning the walls. This café is cosy, the vibe is chilled, and there’s even a tiny outdoor garden where you can sit and enjoy iced coffee in the summer. It’s the perfect spot for a date or coffee with friends, and one of the best cafés in Busan.
Address: 135, Jinnam-ro, Nam-gu, Busan 48448